Towering sandstone bluffs line sections of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion, Illinois' National Scenic River. Photo by Eco-Justice Collaborative. May 2018
Citizens' Advisory Committee on the Middle Fork Corridor to be Reconvened
Following the Middle Fork’s designation as a National Scenic River in 1989, the then Illinois Department of Conservation (IDNR) prepared a “Corridor Management Plan - the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River", dated 1992. This Plan set out specific administrative and management requirements for the protection of the river. The Plan called for the establishment of a Citizens' Advisory Committee to provide non-binding, public input to the Agency regarding all proposed man-made changes in the corridor. But, this committee has not been functioning for years. Some of the organizations originally on the Committee have ceased to exist, new ones have not been invited to replace them.
EJC Calls on the IDNR to Reinstate Committee
We believe that the protection of the Middle Fork and its National Scenic River status must be a high priority for the IDNR and that public input on major decisions affecting the river is as important now as it has ever been. Consequently, EJC has formally called on IDNR to re-store the Committee function. We are pleased to report that In a recent letter to EJC, the IDNR has agreed to promptly reconvene the Citizens' Advisory Committee, once pending litigation is resolved between Dynegy and the State of Illinois regarding violations of surface water standards issued by the Illinois EPA to Dynegy Midwest Generation.
It is now up to all of us to hold them to their promise.
What about the Middle Fork?
We're expecting that the closure plan for the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River's three coal ash pits to be released in the coming months. The Illinois EPA knows we expect a public hearing, consistent with requirements of the new coal ash rules. EJC will share information about the plan and public involvement process as soon as it is released.